Stories published in January, 2014

Bangladesh elections 2014: Where democracy is a prisoner of history

It was an election of the ruling party, by the ruling party and for the ruling party. That is how one can describe the recent general elections in Bangladesh. More than half of the candidates won the elections without even contesting and the remaining half, in a parliament of 300, romped home with a token fight between friendly parties. The ruling Awami League, therefore, got a three fourth majority in the national assembly, which was an unprecedented victory. This is a parliament where the largest opposition in the country, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has no representation at all. Political monopoly No doubt, a House ...

Read Full Post

Misbahul Haq, only second to Imran Khan and Javed Miandad as captain!

On January 14, 2013, I wrote a piece stressing the fact that Misbah is very much a necessity for Pakistan’s One Day International (ODI) cricket. I argued that Misbah has been far better than his colleagues and should not be dropped, predicting that he will fine tune his game-plan and will improve as a batsman. Well, as it turns out, Misbah has indeed stepped up his game since then. Misbahul Haq of Pakistan bats during the ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on March 21, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Photo: AFP Almost a year ...

Read Full Post

Oscars 2014: Here are my predictions about who will take home the gold!

The year 2013 has been a fantastic year for films – a film about an HIV positive patient, another about the smirk of a drug lord with metal teeth; one about a lesbian love affair and another showing the re-enactment of a genocide. The year saw the triumph of documentaries such as The Act of Killing, the emergence and success of acting careers with the likes of Mathew McConaughey and Bruce Dern, and the introduction of low-key Indie style filmmaking into mainstream cinema with Inside Llewyn Davis. These elements made 2013 a very special year for the world of cinema. On January 16, 2014 the Oscar ...

Read Full Post

Sarfaraz Shah murder verdict: Ranger or not, justice is justice

I believe it was J R R Tolkien who said, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” Then again, there is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous political philosopher, who states in his treatise, The Social Contract, “There is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death, even as an example, if he can be left to live without danger to society.” The ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan needs the death penalty

“Let justice be done, even if the heavens are to fall.”  This maxim is the brief, yet true, motto of a free and independent system for the administration of justice. Former President Asif Ali Zardari issued a presidential moratorium suspending the death penalty and executions indefinitely in 2008. Hence, there have been no executions of convicts or condemned prisoners in Pakistan’s jails from 2008 to date. However, I for one, support the death penalty and believe that it works and should be used for the worst kind of offenders and convicts who have committed crimes of a heinous nature without any remorse. It is a fact that ...

Read Full Post

Pearls of destiny… deprived

Her face glowed as she reached the gates of her college. Her eyes sparkled with ambition as she took each step towards her classroom, aided by her faithful crutches. Slowly, she approached the front desk of the class, kept her bag on the seat next to her, sat down and neatly hid the crutches under the desk. It had been another usual day for Anika. She had enjoyed every bit of her lessons, making it a point to answer all the questions she had answers to when asked by the teacher. When she didn’t know the answer, she would eagerly wait ...

Read Full Post

Sindh festival: Learn from Bilawal, arrange culture festivals in every province!

Regardless of whether you like or dislike Bilawal Bhutto, regardless of where your political affiliations are based, the Sindh Festival initiative deserves nothing short of unanimous praise. The homepage of the Sindh Festival website reads, “The inaugural Sindh Festival, instigated by Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, was conceived because Sindh’s rich heritage and culture is in danger. Mohenjo-Daro, the world’s oldest planned urban landscape, lies in a state of disrepair, a victim of neglect and indifference. It is but one of a myriad of sites of antiquity scattered across Sindh and Pakistan which need attention now if they are ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan imports illegal Dish TV from India but refuses to rid itself of ancient cable operators?

How many of us have exclaimed with joy and literally hooted at the following sentence, at least once in their lifetime? “Oh, great! Xyz channel aagaya!”  (Oh great! Xyz channel is available now!) Honestly, I have seen this reaction every time a cable operator tunes in any channel which he had previously stopped running without any prior notice and schedule. I am sure any and every Pakistani has experienced this, whether they reside in the urban areas, suburbs or the unincorporated villages. The sole cause of this problem is the existence of the TV cable industry, which we still have in use, while this technology has been replaced across the globe ...

Read Full Post

Five ways to improve US policy in South Asia in 2014

If there’s one word that defines South Asia in 2014, it’s transition. Elections are scheduled in three countries – Afghanistan, India and a controversial one already held in Bangladesh on January 5. Newly elected governments face their first full year in office in four others – Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. And hovering over this all is the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Amid this change and uncertainty, Washington’s chief objective for South Asia will remain the same – attaining stability. It’s an admittedly ambitious goal in a region cursed by interstate and intrastate tensions alike, and flushes with security threats that range from ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Team green is breaking records and flying high!

Many young cricket fans in Pakistan regret being deprived of watching the great moments of Pakistani cricket live in Sharjah. Whether it was Aqib Javed’s seven-wicket haul against India in 1991 or the great six of Javed Miandad – these youngsters missed these classic moments which were later discontinued due to the ban on the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. But this regret was wiped out on January 20, 2013 when the Pakistan cricket team added to the countless memories of the Sharjah ground by achieving yet another milestone when they gave birth to a new world record in Test cricket by chasing a target of 300 ...

Read Full Post